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New York Times, Saturday, April 16, 2016

Author:
Andrew Zhou
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1811/11/20108/15/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3021633
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61241
Andrew Zhou

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {Q} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Zhou. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Zhou notes:
I'm quite fond of themeless puzzles in which triple stacks in the NW and SE corners open out into surprising territory in the middle. ... read more

I'm quite fond of themeless puzzles in which triple stacks in the NW and SE corners open out into surprising territory in the middle. I started this one with MYSTERY MEAT, which is not only gives me a chuckle, but which contains very "end-friendly" letters. This solves a problem I've encountered in which the bottom entry of the bottom stack, constrained by such "end-friendly" letters, can often be something less than stellar.

Some of my favorite entries here are on the shorter end: MCCAFE, ADEXECS, FBICASES, and CHEEZITS. I MEAN REALLY unintentionally evokes SNL's "Weekend Update" and my SETH MEYERS entry from December. GET THE WRONG IDEA is one of those expressions that seems harmless and generic but, upon closer inspection, is rather contextually specific (e.g.: "I think you got the wrong idea about my intentions," or "now don't get the wrong idea or anything...") And finally, composers of the ARS subtilior, a style the flourished in 14th-century France, produced some of the most beautiful manuscripts and crazy rhythmic ideas you'll ever encounter. "More subtle art," like crosswords--and the "American Pie" octalogy.

Jeff Chen notes:
Triple-stacked 11s are tough — there are so many crossing answers you have to be careful of. Too often, they result in so-so ... read more

Triple-stacked 11s are tough — there are so many crossing answers you have to be careful of. Too often, they result in so-so long answers, or pretty iffy crossers. I really like Andrew's bottom right corner, that triple of HOMO ERECTUS / INTAKE VALVE (yay, mechanical engineering!) / MYSTERY MEAT really singing. AMTS is really the only gluey bit in there, and it's minor. (And if you don't know JONY Ive, you ought to. He's the longtime Apple design guy, largely responsible for the look and feel of the iPhone in your pocket.)

INTAKE VALVE, very neat little assembly

The opposite corner is pretty good too, especially BAMBOO SHOOT over I MEAN, REALLY. The latter is even nicer because its implied comma gets stripped away by crossword convention, making it harder to uncover. (I didn't know what a BARREL CHAIR was, so it didn't do a lot for me, but at least it's readily inferable.) Here, we do see some stress in the grid, especially with TYRO, a bit of old-school crossword glue. I think OLIN is perfectly fine, as Ken and Lena OLIN have been reasonably big stars. OLAN is tougher to judge for me — "The Good Earth" has been on many reading lists, but OLAN is no Scout Finch or Hermione, IMO.

I enjoy seeing the diversity within themeless patterns. Typically, constructors using stacked 11s would separate them as much as possible from the rest of the grid, but Andrew goes big, running both EUGENE LEVY and DOLITTLE through the bottom right. Not easy to do at all, as that can fix so much of a corner rigidly in place, causing compromises. Again, it's the upper left that feels a bit of strain with BARIC (not super common, yeah?) but that's pretty minor.

I also liked that Andrew took advantage of some of his smaller slots, MCCAFE, TAX TIP, AD EXECS, PERIWIG adding to the quality of my solve. A NOTCH was the only real sticking point to me, as that feels like it violates a cardinal rule of the NYT crossword — no partials greater than five letters. Still, there's enough snappy material packed in that I imagine Will bit the bullet and let it by.

1
B
2
A
3
M
4
B
5
O
6
O
7
S
8
H
9
O
10
O
11
T
12
M
13
S
14
G
15
I
M
E
A
N
R
E
A
L
L
Y
16
C
E
O
17
B
A
R
R
E
L
C
H
A
I
R
18
C
A
N
19
R
I
M
E
20
A
N
N
O
21
T
A
T
E
22
F
23
B
I
C
A
S
24
E
S
25
A
F
A
R
26
R
A
E
27
N
S
A
28
A
29
D
30
E
X
E
C
S
31
A
S
S
32
E
S
33
R
34
A
N
O
U
T
35
G
E
T
T
H
36
E
W
R
O
N
G
I
37
D
38
E
39
A
40
H
O
L
I
S
T
41
E
P
O
X
Y
42
P
43
E
44
R
I
W
I
G
45
C
46
N
N
47
L
I
E
48
A
L
E
C
49
C
H
E
E
50
Z
I
T
S
51
G
L
A
S
52
S
53
J
54
A
R
55
A
L
I
T
56
A
I
D
57
H
O
M
O
58
E
R
E
C
T
59
U
60
S
61
N
O
M
62
I
N
T
A
K
E
V
A
L
V
E
63
S
T
E
64
M
Y
S
T
E
R
Y
M
E
A
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0416 ( 24,266 )
Across
1
Edible Asian sprout : BAMBOOSHOOT
12
Something found naturally in tomatoes and potatoes : MSG
15
"Like, are you serious?!" : IMEANREALLY
16
Top of an outfit? : CEO
17
Furniture item with a rounded back : BARRELCHAIR
18
Head : CAN
19
Winter coat : RIME
20
Seek to explain, in a way : ANNOTATE
22
Some of them are devoted to gangsters : FBICASES
25
Not close : AFAR
26
Bob ___, leader of Canada's Liberal Party before Justin Trudeau : RAE
27
Org. in the documentary "Citizenfour" : NSA
28
They clear spots : ADEXECS
31
Jerks : ASSES
33
Expired : RANOUT
35
Misunderstand : GETTHEWRONGIDEA
40
One taking the big view, medically : HOLIST
41
Bond producer : EPOXY
42
Top of the British judicial system? : PERIWIG
45
"This is ___" : CNN
47
"Your table will be ready in five minutes," possibly : LIE
48
Tess's lover in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" : ALEC
49
Orange snacks : CHEEZITS
51
Something that may be jam-packed : GLASSJAR
55
Stopped winging it? : ALIT
56
Bolster : AID
57
Distant ancestor : HOMOERECTUS
61
Information after "Je m'appelle ..." : NOM
62
Car engine component : INTAKEVALVE
63
___-Chapelle : STE
64
Much-joked-about cafeteria offering : MYSTERYMEAT
Down
1
Seafood shack item : BIB
2
Quack stopper, for short : AMA
3
Christmas superlative : MERRIEST
4
Relating to element #56 : BARIC
5
Patrick Stewart's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol," e.g. : ONEMANSHOW
6
More after more? : ORLESS
7
Tick : SEC
8
Routine responses : HAHAS
9
Pearl Buck heroine : OLAN
10
Massachusetts' ___ College : OLIN
11
Hardly a vet : TYRO
12
Place to get a brew in more than 11,000 U.S. locations : MCCAFE
13
Alaska Airlines hub : SEATAC
14
They're history : GONERS
21
It might help you on your return : TAXTIP
22
Assault, as a commanding officer : FRAG
23
___ 10 : BASE
24
Pincered creature : EARWIG
28
How much to be above, as they say : ANOTCH
29
Teacher at Oxford : DON
30
Only actor to appear in all eight "American Pie" films : EUGENELEVY
32
Magnum opus of Spinoza : ETHICS
34
___ subtilior (musical style) : ARS
36
Country's ___ Young Band : ELI
37
Doctor of book and screen : DOLITTLE
38
It's found on the side of a highway : EXIT
39
Passing requirements : AYES
42
Ancient Greeks, e.g. : PAGANS
43
Broadway Billy : ELLIOT
44
Software text page : README
46
Warmer, in a way : NEARER
49
Southeastern European : CROAT
50
Cold medicine brand : ZICAM
52
Level : SHIM
53
Sir ___ Ive, designer of the iPad, iPod, iPhone and iMac : JONY
54
Qts. and gals. : AMTS
58
Stretch (out) : EKE
59
A.C.C. school : UVA
60
Good to go : SET

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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